The New York Times' Scores

For 1,461 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 The Runners Four
Lowest review score: 10 All The Right Reasons
Score distribution:
1,461 music reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's an album so strong and so unexpected that it may change the way people hear all its predecessors. And that's just a start. Listen long enough, and this album might change the way you hear lots of other bands, too.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is something most indie-rock bands take a long time to achieve, if ever: a heavy footfall, a no-half-stepping opus, a defining statement. [9 Oct 2005]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You probably won't hear a better CD all year long. [30 Jan 2006]
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It captures Davis's finest working band at its apogee, straining at the limits of post-bop refinement.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The best Modest Mouse album yet.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    2004's first great hip-hop album. [9 Feb 2004]
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It may be Mr. Darnielle's best album so far (which is saying a lot) and his most straightforwardly autobiographical (which isn't saying much). [25 Apr 2005]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What's most exciting about ''Black Sheep Boy'' is that Okkervil River sounds more than ever like a band. [9 Apr 2005]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There's a new layer of perspective on her magnificent third album. [3 Oct 2005]
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Far more than a sequel. [3 Oct 2005]
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An imposing act of pop interpretation. [3 Oct 2005]
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Gorgeous... One of the year's best electronic albums. [29 May 2005]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is a fully legitimate, clear and strong rock 'n' roll record in the band's own style. And it may really be the best one.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It’s more experimental yet catchier, more introspective yet more assertive, by turns gloomier and funnier, and above all richer in both sound and implication. “Return to Cookie Mountain” is simply one of this year’s best albums.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    [His] best work in 20 years. [25 Jul 2006]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As a sustained effort, it represents the band’s sharpest and most satisfying work, and one of the most accomplished albums of its kind this year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Simultaneously brutal and hilarious, and bristling with wake-up-call urgency, “The Black Parade” may prove to be the best rock record of the year.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Barring some last-minute surprise, he has made the best hip-hop album of the year. [9 Nov 2006]
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    These clattering and clear-eyed tracks add up to something singular. [27 Nov 2006]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Arcade Fire mines classic U2 and Bruce Springsteen far better than the Killers recently did. And Arcade Fire didn’t lose its own voice in an attempt to sound bigger and grander. [5 Mar 2007]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The strongest stuff of Mr. Murphy’s career.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The year’s most exciting rock ’n’ roll album. [26 Feb 2007]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “The Reminder” is a modestly scaled but quietly profound pop gem: sometimes intimate, sometimes exuberant, filled with love songs and hints of mystery. [15 Apr 2007]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Somehow The Con is even more obsessive sounding than Tegan and Sara’s earlier work, and it’s probably even better; it could well be one of the year’s best albums.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Lupe Fiasco and his producers--mostly Soundtrakk--have clarified the lyrics and brought out the hooks. The result is a three-act allegory that’s also one of the year’s best hip-hop albums.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Album is one of the year’s most bracing pop releases, and one of the best, a devastatingly fresh reframing of the pop songbook.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    But there’s a strong presence to the album, with its meticulous atmosphere and granite consistency of tone. The chiming guitars of a pair of Erics (Pulido and Nichelson), and the tasteful work of a the drummer McKenzie Smith bring gravity to the band’s gloss on psychedelic folk.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There’s good reason for both the length of the album and its occasional lavish moments. Ms. Newsom has discovered how to open up her music: to let it whisper and swell, to be swept into the purely musical pleasures of an ingenious arrangement or to let simplicity and silence speak for her.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This band's self-titled debut (on Fat Possum) is disarming all the same, certain to be one of the year's most unabashedly beautiful albums.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    That Take Care is an almost complete success is no small feat, especially given that it's an accomplishment of form more than of content, content having been handled assuredly on the last two Drake releases
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Apocalypse is bolder and clearer, less blissed-out and more grippingly immediate than [2011's The Golden Age of Apocalypse].
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    You sense that he’s walked past those doors, revising his ideas, waiting, looking for something. He’s found it. Listen through his astonishing new album, Dream River, and you will hear, lined up neatly, his trademarks.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    None of [the guest vocals] disrupt Drake’s effortless triumph over mainstream rap excess.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The songs are alert to the current sound of clubs and radio, but not trapped by it; the refrains are terse and direct, but what happens between them isn’t formulaic. And while Beyoncé constructed the songs with a phalanx of collaborators, they all know better than to eclipse her creamy, soulful voice.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At 57 Ms. Smith has made the most diverse music of her career.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Weird and catchy and unexpectedly funny. [11 Oct 2004]
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The arrangements are light and immaculate, the vocals coo and cajole, and the melodies are addictive.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "Pretty Toney" doesn't match the high standard of Ghostface's first two, "Ironman" and "Supreme Clientele," but it's a strong album nonetheless, packed with dense narratives and weird conceits.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    He uses a roomful of instruments and toys to turn the album into a homemade pop symphony.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are moments when the Secret Machines imitate their influences a little too closely, and at times the brothers' voices aren't as imposing as the arrangements. But for most of "Now Here Is Nowhere," the Secret Machines make music that matches the scale of their ambitions.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If only all stupid rock music could be this intelligent.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tense, febrile and messy, but tuneful and cohesive at the same time. [2 May 2004]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    He often starts with a familiar scenario or sentiment, then finds a way to wriggle free of predictability without giving up on the initial idea.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These are easily Nelly's best albums so far.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In his world, being grown and sexy doesn't mean being complacent - it means being curious, maybe even brave.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    One of the year's best indie-rock albums. [3 Oct 2004]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The low-fi yet meticulous arrangements only add to the sense of isolation and the poignancy of the songs. [18 Oct 2004]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While the album might seem to be a conceptual stunt, it finds gorgeous and startling new ways to extend Bjork's longtime mission: merging the earthy and the ethereal. [29 Aug 2004]
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a collection of odds and ends, yet the music can be cathartic and it can be achingly intimate. [29 Nov 2004]
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Each song opens into a lush inner dream world. [31 Jan 2005]
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's an intensely private album, full of desolation, leave-takings, recriminations and regrets. [21 Feb 2005]
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her most down-to-earth album in years, because Ms. Amos has decided she doesn't have to pack every impulse into every song. Sometimes, now, a simple melody and a steady groove are enough. [21 Feb 2005]
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is a collection of stark but sly threats and come-ons, nearly as addictive as its predecessor. [3 Mar 2005]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For all that the Kills owe to P. J. Harvey, they also have angles of their own. [13 Mar 2005]
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like many of the best indie-pop bands, this one is musically conservative. Rather than chase new forms and sounds, the members are content to perfect the mannered pop song, nodding to forebears and fellow travelers, from Prefab Sprout to the Postal Service. [30 Dec 2004]
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The results are simultaneously crisp and disorienting, teasing with a familiarity that quickly recedes behind complex second thoughts. [21 Mar 2005]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Where his previous albums have seesawed between comedy and despair, "Guero" comes closer than ever to merging them. [21 Mar 2005]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These are songs full of offhand aphorisms, and they can grab you from the first line. [23 May 2005]
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This time he's back to attack mode. Nearly every song bristles and slams. [2 May 2005]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's even more disjointed and unpredictable than its predecessor. [19 May 2005]
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Annie has a breathy wisp of a voice, and her vocal range is limited; but there is charm in her deadpan delivery, and her songwriting is full of the flair for melody for which Scandinavian pop is famous. [2 May 2005]
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Be
    "Be" is certainly a triumph, but if it isn't quite the all-time classic Common was hoping for, that's because it sounds a bit too straightforward. [25 May 2005]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Its seriousness never makes it earthbound. Mr. Cooder brings to it all he has learned from a career delving into odd corners of American and world music. [13 Jun 2005]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She's a pop songwriter above all; the songs are catchy, with melodies good enough to tempt non-Spanish speakers to sing along. [13 Jun 2005]
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "The Cookbook" plays like a party mix tape. [4 Jul 2005]
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even the most elaborate constructions come across as homemade, touched with an optimism that is by no means naïve. [10 Jul 2005]
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [An] excellent debut album. [27 Jun 2005]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    No question, it's not for everyone; it's both fey and aggressive. But it's quite real. [11 Jul 2005]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It can suggest Suzanne Vega's studio work, Neil Young's Crazy Horse or the latter-day Wilco. [22 Aug 2005]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On "Electric Blue Watermelon"... the trio makes its strongest statement about who it is and where it lives. [5 Sep 2005]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sir Paul has always been an instinctive songwriter, and he sounds as surprised by these songs as his listeners may be. [12 Sep 2005]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On past albums, Sigur Ros has forged songs into hermetic sanctuaries, but on "Takk..." it expands its music toward both the abstract and the corporeal. [13 Sep 2005]
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The songs are sturdier than ever, and they possess a sneaky sort of power. [10 Oct 2005]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If it isn't as formally shocking as "Sung Tongs," it's still a strong record. [17 Oct 2005]
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pastoral doesn't quite describe it; this seems to come from some place more eco-protected than any in existence. [24 Oct 2005]
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a messy, sometimes insane CD... [but it's] mysterious and subtly seductive. [8 Dec 2005]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The band's best album so far. [21 Nov 2005]
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ms. Blige brings together hip-hop realism and soul's higher aspirations, hip-hop's digitized crispness and soul's slow-building testimonies. [19 Dec 2005]
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "First Impressions of Earth" is their most openly impassioned album. As they lower their emotional guard, they redouble their musical ingenuity, then crank up their attack. [2 Jan 2006]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It feels like an event: grand, sumptuous, sometimes seductive.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's more coherent [than its predecessor] by a mile. It's longer, and its group songwriting blends better. [20 Mar 2006]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This album doesn't match the weird, woozy brilliance of "Supreme Clientele," from 2000, and there are a few too many guest verses from rappers who don't come close to upstaging their host. Still, this might surpass his 2004 CD, "The Pretty Toney Album," though it's too early to tell: when you get a new Ghostface Killah album, the only reasonable reaction is to get lost in it. [27 Mar 2006]
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Memorable refrains, hard beats, elegant rhymes: this album succeeds mainly by sticking to a simple but effective formula. [3 Apr 2006]
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "White Trash With Money" is one of his best albums, partly because it finds a lighthearted way to smuggle recent years' redneck pride into this year's love-song boom. [6 Apr 2006]
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nothing about this dense, jumbled, energetic, totally inorganic, quite brilliant word- and note-stuffed album is to the point. [17 Apr 2006]
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A good, sometimes glorious collection of loud pop songs and quiet punk songs... after 11 years, they've made their most exuberant, most youthful-sounding album. [13 Apr 2006]
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A manic, twisted soul album that's part nostalgia and part dementia.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Now as ever, Pearl Jam takes itself seriously. But it delivers that seriousness not with the sodden self-importance of rock superstardom, but with the craft and hunger of a band still proving itself on the spot. [1 May 2006]
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The music brims with a creative euphoria almost shocking for a band that has been around since Ronald Reagan's first term.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Son
    On "Son" she shows off a new confidence, even a willfulness, as she sets free her voice and her sonic wit. [29 May 2006]
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "Be Your Own Pet" is smart and crafty, but most of all, it's a wild-eyed blast.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Imagine the Postal Service, but far more danceable and quirkily experimental.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "Loose" is an addictive, deceptively lightweight album of electronic pop; at different points it evokes Janet Jackson, M.I.A., Gwen Stefani and Gnarls Barkley. [19 Jun 2006]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album is a perfect introduction for latecomers to this essential New York band.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Angst has rarely sounded sweeter than it does on "Ganging Up on the Sun," which swirls with classic vocal harmonies, vintage organs and lightly strummed guitars.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mr. Mayer has been writing songs again, good ones, with all the leanness and directness that distinguish his strongest work.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album has a kind of demented gravity, and the music bears it out: it is the most concentrated, focused Slayer record in 20 years.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [A] darkly intelligent album.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "Blood Mountain" is a strong record by a powerful band nearing an ideal of cohesion.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Los Lobos has swerved away from the upbeat music it plays on the jam-band circuit, harking back to its quietly startling 1992 album, “Kiko.” [25 Sep 2006]